Tag Archives: Sunday By Sunday

Gospel Reflection for August 25, 2019, 21st Sunday Ordinary Time

23 Aug

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 66.18-21; Hebrews 12.5-7, 11.13; Luke 13.22-30

Someone asked Jesus, “Teacher, will only a few be saved?” Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able” – Luke 13.34

A doorway or threshold is a liminal space. The word limen means threshold, literally, the timber or stone that lies under a door. This space between inside and outside is transitional space, the boundary where one crosses between worlds and where imagination plays with who we may become.

The empty Easter tomb is a liminal space, the threshold between life as we know it and life as Jesus promises it. The stone has been rolled back. The open tomb calls us to faith.

Jesus opens not only the narrow door of his own self-giving but also the wider challenge of loving our neighbors. In Luke’s narrative Jesus presses his followers to invest in the poor rather than build bigger granaries. Both Jesus’ narrow and wide doors teach demanding, other-centered ethics. His way calls us to alleviate our fears by giving alms, to handle conflict by turning the other cheek, to carry people’s burdens an extra mile, to love even our enemies.

Each of us lives in a now when the door to commitment is open.

What more is Jesus asking of you? What door do you want to open or shut? What door to a neighbor do you want to open this week? 


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8 Aug

Hate and chaos vs. Faith, hope & love

Sunday by Sunday CoverIt’s a battle. One the Gospel prepares us to expect. We are better off when we face challenging times together. Sunday by Sunday can help.

Conversation about the Gospel builds up hope and faith. Conversation breaks down barriers. Don’t despair. Bring a group together to reflect on Jesus’ message of faith and hope.

Read our August issues online. Then imagine reflecting on the Gospel message and the suggested questions with parish members or friends or family. Jesus guarantees that when two or three gather in his name, he is there with us. We can trust his word.

Try Sunday by Sunday. If you want to order, please call 800-232-5533. Or go online at goodgroundpress.com.

If you are not ready to order, let us send you sample copies you can share with potential group members. We are happy to do that at no charge. Just call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533.

Faith moves mountains. Let us keep each other in prayer.

Gospel Reflection for August 11, 2019, 19th Sunday Ordinary Time

7 Aug

Scripture Readings: Wisdom 18.6-9; Hebrews 11.1-2, 8-19; Luke 12.32-48

“Bear this in mind: If a householder could know just when the thief would break in, the householder would never leave the house to be broken into! You have to be ready the same way, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you don’t expect.” – Luke 12.39-40

Many early Christians expected Jesus’ second coming in glory in their lifetimes. Luke’s audience has grown weary of waiting and raised questions about what commitments are of ultimate worth. Jesus’ exhortations in Sunday’s gospel encourage his disciples and us.

An element of surprise pervades the sayings. Jesus counsels us to keep our lamps burning. The kingdom may startle us, erupting as suddenly as a thief breaking in. Luke refuses to calculate when Jesus will appear in glory. We Christians cannot set any end-time clock. No, Jesus admonishes. Stay alert! Establish inexhaustible accounts in the heavens. Feed the hungry, heal the sick, free the oppressed. We have Jesus’ promise that the householder who returns and finds these works going on will seat us at table and serve us.

What in the way you live each day indicates where your heart is?


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Gospel Reflection for July 28, 2019, 17th Sunday Ordinary Time

22 Jul

Sunday Readings: Genesis 18.20-32; Colossians 2.12-14; Luke 11.1-13

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” – Luke 11.9

To pray that God’s name be hallowed and that God’s kingdom come is to acknowledge that all barriers to love must be dissolved. Anything that separates race from race, rich from poor, gender from gender, age group from age group, Christian from non-Christian is a barrier to the holiness God wishes to share with believers. Biases have no place in the community that names God our Father.

Jesus calls us to preserve in prayer. God is more gracious that a friend who reluctantly gets up in the night to help us, but God’s graciousness does not guarantee that we get what we want. We may not receive what we ask for; we may instead discover more than we were looking for or be surprised at what’s behind the door on which we are knocking.

What are you seeking in prayer? What have you found? 


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Gospel Reflection for July 21, 2019, 16th Sunday Ordinary Time

15 Jul

Sunday Readings: Genesis 18.1-10; Colossians 1.24-28; Luke 10.38-42

“Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teachings”  – Luke 10.38-39

In Sunday’s gospel Mary sits at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings and Martha serves him. These two actions–listening to Jesus’ words and serving a meal–are the same actions that take place in the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the eucharist. Perhaps Martha and Mary represent two forms of ministry evolving in the Christian community. Many women today value this gospel because it is one of the few stories about women. However, Luke sets the two sisters strangely against each other in the short gospel scene. Rather than ask Mary directly to help, Martha asks Jesus to command Mary to help with the work of hospitality. The request backfire.  Martha get chided for overburdening herself and Mary gets praise for silent listening.

The conflicts in the Martha and Mary story suggest that official ministries are evolving in the house churches of the A.D. 80s. The ministries of women in Christian communities have become controversial. The scene effectively silences the ministries of both women. Jesus tells Martha to give up her ministry of hospitality and perhaps house church and join her sister in preferring the better part–silent listening to Jesus. Perhaps their ministries of word and table make Martha and Mary too memorable in the life of the early Christian community to forget. Perhaps they are so important that Luke uses the voice of Jesus’ authority to put them in their place, the same subordinate position women are transforming today.

How do you participate in the Church’s ministries of word and table? What would happen if all the women in your parish withheld their service and leadership? 


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Gospel Reflection for July 14, 2019, 15th Sunday Ordinary Time

8 Jul

Sunday Readings: Deuteronomy 30.10-136)?4; Colossians 1.15-20; Luke 10.25-37

“Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers?”  – Luke 10.25-37

Compassion may be understood as the capacity to be attracted to and moved by the vulnerability of someone else. It requires the willingness to risk, to stop and share one’s strengths and vulnerability, rather than rushing on with our own preoccupations or stereotypes. As Jesus’ story shows, compassion is the opposite of a priest’s self-righteousness and a Levite’s apathy.

Compassion is a movement of the heart. It includes sensitivity to what is weak and wounded as well as the courage to allow oneself to be affected by another’s pain. Who can take away suffering without entering into it? How can we help to heal someone else’s wounds if we have not begun to accept our own. Compassion also demands action — the type that takes time or even makes time — to help change persons and structures that sometimes blindly exclude or marginalize.

What experiences in your life make it difficult to feel compassionate? What experiences have taught you compassion and the need to be less judgmental? 


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Gospel Reflection for July 7, 2019, 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

2 Jul

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 66.19-14; Galatians 6.14-18; Luke 10.1-9 

“Jesus appointed 72 other missionaries and sent them in pairs ahead of him to every town and place he intended to visit.”  – Luke 10.1

Jesus asks of new disciples the same radical, itinerant way of life he models on the way to Jerusalem. His followers will have no place to lay their heads, no duties more important than preaching the gospel and bringing its healing power among the people, and no family ties deeper than the faith that unifies those who believe in Jesus and do God’s will. Jesus advises no walking staff,  no traveling bag, no sandals, no visiting along the way. A disciple cannot posses much less than this. However, Jesus’ rules presume local communities of Christians that welcome the radical, itinerant missionaries. The greeting, “Peace to this house, is the test. Missionaries stay with anyone who reciprocates the greeting.

Who brought the good news of God’s nearness to you? To whom has you handed it on? 


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Gospel Reflection for June 30, 2019, 13th Sunday Ordinary Time

26 Jun

Gospel Reflection for June 30, 2019, 13th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 19.16, 19-21; Galatians 5.1, 13-18; Luke 9.51-62 

“As the days were being fulfilled for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”  – Luke 9.51

In the first verse we hear this Sunday, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, a journey that leads to the cross and provides the literary frame for ten chapters (Luke 9.51-19.28). Ultimately the journey leads from death to life, lifts Jesus into glory, and promises his followers a path to life with God. Jesus’ men and women disciples serve an apprenticeship on this journey to Jerusalem. On their way Jesus encounters three people who want to follow him but each finds the cost too high—no place to lay one’s head, no possessions, little time for family and parents. These three introduce us to our yes-but-not-yet selves.

What is something spiritual you plan to do but not yet? 


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